Fun (cheap) birthday gift ideas for kids

Some time ago, I got a message from Elaine G., who had recently joined a mom’s group. With all of her newly minted friendships, she and her child are getting invitations to lots of toddler birthday parties.

Her dilemma took me back to when our boys were small. Birthday parties for all their friends were challenging. That’s why Elaine’s message grabbed my attention. “Can you help me with ideas for birthday gifts for young children that will score with the kids without breaking our budget?” You bet, Elaine. Try these ideas on for size.

The story of me

Give the birthday girl or boy everything they need to write (or draw) the story of their life. For children just learning to read, write or draw, include a list of “prompts” that might include instructing the child to draw a picture of a favorite animal, a place to visit or something that makes them laugh. Package it with a pad or book of drawing paper, markers, crayons and enough prompts to complete all the pages in their book.

Play kit

Spark the interest and imagination of the birthday child with a custom play kit you put together. “Design” the kit on

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19 fun ways to light up your garden in style

Looking to brighten up your plot? Try these festoon light ideas – they will instantly add sparkle and style to your space. Whether you’re after a cosy outdoor living room or an atmosphere that’s fit for a party, it’s easy to see why they’re such a popular go-to. Effective, affordable, and easy to string along a fence or hang from a pergola – what’s not to love? They’re the perfect choice if you’re on the lookout for garden lighting ideas.



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‘When it comes to styling your festoons, there are so many options,’ says the team at Lights4fun. ‘For a subtle illumination around your garden we recommend swagging the lights along an exterior wall or fence, or for the ultimate wow-factor create a festoon canopy overhead, this looks particularly effective over an outdoor dining table or seating area and adds an inviting warm glow to your space.’

Thalia Shaw, owner of Sparkle Lighting, adds, ‘Festoon lights are a great affordable option to create atmosphere in a garden. They are brilliant for emphasising a focal point such as a barbecue area, dining area or sitting area,’ or ‘for creating a zone.’

Sounds perfect,

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Fun and easy ideas for your baby’s monthly photos

Can you ever take too many pictures of your baby in the first year? The answer is a big, emphatic “NO!” Take pictures; take all the pictures. You’ll never regret having too many baby pictures, but you will regret not having enough. For sure, take at least one picture a month of your baby to commemorate how many months they’ve been alive. And don’t worry—you don’t have to hire a professional photographer or anything. You can do it yourself.



a teddy bear sitting on top of a bed: baby month ideas


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baby month ideas

More from MamásLatinas: Unique baby names inspired by Latino celebrity kids

The first year of a baby’s life can be such a blur. You are exhausted, and adding monthly baby photo shoots might seem like just one more thing you have to do, but when the year is over, you will be so happy you did it. You’ll see just how much your baby has changed from month to month, and you will treasure these photos for the rest of your life.

We see so many creative ideas for monthly baby photo shoots, and we want to share some of our favorites with you. Use them to help inspire your own monthly baby

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JMID completes fun, fresh renovations in North Naples

Jinx McDonald Interior Designs, Inc. (JMID) recently completed the interior design on a 2,400 square foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in North Naples in partnership with EECON Construction.



a living room filled with furniture and a large window: Jinx McDonald Interior Designs, Inc. (JMID) redesigned a North Naples home into a fun, fresh space that’s ideal for friends and family to watch a game.


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Jinx McDonald Interior Designs, Inc. (JMID) redesigned a North Naples home into a fun, fresh space that’s ideal for friends and family to watch a game.

To begin the renovation, walls were demolished and moved around to create a large living room. Open to a new kitchen that takes advantage of key windows in the home, it lets ample amounts of natural light into the room.

“A large group can gather in this open kitchen and can spill over into the living room, said Minka McDonald, President of Jinx McDonald Interior Designs. “The living room consists of matching sofas and a pair of leather recliners facing a focal TV wall with built-in cabinets and floating shelves on either side.”

Crisp white shaker cabinets with fully integrated appliances line the anchor wall of the kitchen with a custom nickel gap hood and floating shelves set off by a beautiful blue-glass backsplash run in a herringbone pattern. The rich blue is picked back up in the cabinets on the large island that is

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